Maj. Gen. Janaka Perera denied killing Wijeweera – Lalkantha

‘Who killed our leader and 60,000 cadres?’


By Saman Indrajith

Nobody has claimed the responsibility for the deaths of thousands of JVP cadres and its founder leader Rohana Wijeweera because the party had not stopped its forward march, JVP Politburo member and trade union wing leader KD Lalkantha said on Monday.

Participating at the 28th Ill Maha Viru (November Heroes) commemoration held at the Viharamahadevi Open Air theatre, Lal Kantha said Nov. 13 would never be forgotten by all progressive Sri Lankans. "Our founder leader was killed on that day. Thousands of others were killed during that time by the then rulers. It is believed that the number of JVP cadres killed is 60,000. There are so many people who claim the credit for the elimination of the LTTE and its leadership. Mahinda Rajapapaksa says he led the war. Then Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says he ended the LTTE. Sarath Fonseka says it is he who did it. Then there are some others who write books claiming the victory. Thousands of JVP cadres were killed in the late 1980s. But, none would come forward to claim responsibility because we are forging ahead as a progressive movement.

"Gen. Janaka Perera contested for the chief ministerial post of the North Central Province. I led the campaign for our party. During the campaign Gen Perera contacted me over the phone asked me to meet him. During that meeting he told me that he had not killed Comrade Wijeweera. He told me that he had no hand in the killing. He said he only had arrested Wijeweera and later handed him over to the authorities concerned. Gen Perera needed to clear his name. He however did not betray his political or military leaders responsible for the crime.

"We know that there are many here today who were in the struggle with us on that fateful day. I was in the Welikanda torture chamber. Comrade Tilvin was in the Magazine prison. We were given government papers to read. There was a headline in one of those papers to the effect that Upathissa Gamanayake had been captured. The prison authorities throwing the papers at us said our struggle was over and asked us to give up. We did not give in then and we are not doing so now and we will never give up this struggle in the future as well. We shall prevail.

"Many of those who talk of killings and abductions of JVP members talk only of the incidents in the late 1980s. But, the JR Jayewardene government of which Ranil Wickremesinghe was a key member started killing our members in 1985. They started the killing spree with the abduction and killing of two comrades at Sravasthipura in Anuradhapura. Our comrades were killed opposite the Pettah Bo-tree when they protested against the Indo-Lanka accord. Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Dinesh Gunawardena, too, were with us. The JR Jayewardene government ordered shooting. Today, Rathupaswala shooting is being investigated. When would a government conduct an investigation to find those who ordered shooting at the protest against the Indo-Lanka Accord protest in 1987?

"The capitalist governments killed our leader, almost all members of our central committee and politburo and 60,000 other cadres. Those killings caused us to make a tactical retreat. But, we never lost."

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